Mallorca’s gastronomy during hiking (Part 1)

When we go for a hike we need to eat the appropriate type and amount of food, due to the intensive physical exercise. Drinking is even more important especially if we are not used to the climate and to the type of terrain. Therefore, we must plan carefully our food and drink intake before, during and after the hike.

Mallorca’s hikes can be quite challenging, especially in terms of temperature and slope, as the mountain paths are often steep and with a limited amount of shadow. Temperatures at noon can go over 25ºC already in March-April, and until the end of October. From June to August temperatures can pass the 30ºC threshold, even reach 35ºC or more in extremely hot days. Many routes should be avoided when temperatures are so high up, while other routes (more shadowy and with sea access) can become a perfect option to enjoy an outdoor hot day.

Mallorca hiking food

Eating local food while enjoying the fantastic views

This article (divided into 2 blog posts) will try to introduce you to the typical Mallorcan food that can complement your hikes, while resuming the health benefits they have to offer. Since we are focusing on food that can be eaten during a hike, it must be raw food or previously elaborated food. Notice that Mallorca Hiking offers you the possibility to tailor made your activity and include local food, which we will select and bring in order to make your day even more special.

 

Fruit is a source of vitamins (especially vitamin C), vegetable soluble fiber, water (fruit provides fast body hydration), and it helps the digestive system and the drainage of liquids. The typical seasonal fruits produced in Mallorca are tangerines (November-March), oranges (November-April), lemons (November-May), grapefruits (December-April), strawberries (February-May), loquats (April-May), cherries (May-July), apricots (May-August), peaches (May-September), nectarines (May-September), plums (June-August), watermelons (June-August), melons (June-September), figs (July-September), pears (July-November), apples (August-January), pomegranates (September-November), grapes (September-December) and kakis (October-December). The sunny Mediterranean climate combined with the traditional tree varieties and low air and soil pollution; provide the perfect environment to grow very tasty and juicy fruit. However, you need to know where to get it, preferably from smaller shops or directly from countryside producers.

 

Local and abundant nut

The healthy energetic snack to bring on excursions

Almonds are the main nuts produced in Mallorca, since the cultivation of almond trees became a main economic rural activity during the late XIXth century, after an epidemic stage in the grapevine that led to the end of the traditional wine producing sector. Therefore, it is usual to see almond trees during your hike, as they have been planted almost everywhere on the island. Almonds are rich in vegetable oils, meaning that they provide a great caloric kick to our body. Moreover, they contain proteins, vitamins (B and E groups especially), minerals (iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and zinc) and fiber. They are a great healthy snack (not salted), helping us to gain some energy to continue doing some body activity. And they are so delicious!!

The natural salty snack

Olives are very appreciated both for macerating and for pressing to get oil

One of the oldest symbols of peace and goodness is the olive tree which grows delicious olives. In Spain it is said that “the one who grows olives lives a long time thanks their nutritional properties”. They are not a great source of calories, though they have high quantities essential oils (omega 3 and omega 6) which are beneficial to our body. Moreover, they are a source of vitamins A and C, minerals such as iron and sodium, and fiber. Olives are easily assimilated by the body, being a perfect and tasty snack. Since they have been previously macerated, they are normally salty which means we should not eat lots of them while we are hiking. You can also bring a jar of the flavourful Majorcan olive pâté to spread on a bread slice or cookie.

Next week we will intrduce you to more elaborated Majorcan food that is also suitable to bring for a walk in the nature.

The Allure of the Almond

Almonds in MallorcHistorically Almonds became popular in Mallorca in the 18th century at the expense of the vineyards. Almond trees were planted in their thousands to replace the grape vines that had been devastated by the outbreak of phylloxera.

Today Mallorca has close to five million almond trees and the island’s landscape is at its finest when the almond trees blossom. The incredibly picturesque scenes of the almond blossom attracts thousands of tourists each year. Almonds are now one of Mallorca’s main crops. They cover a surface area of over 60,000 hectares in the Balearics, of which 90% are in Mallorca, and produce around 14,000 tons of this precious dried fruit.

The Almond nut is highly prized by chefs for both savoury and sweet dishes. Mallorcan almonds are particularly sweet and have a high percentage of oil – sometimes reaching 60% – compared to almonds from other countries. Their low water content makes Mallorcan almonds a great source of nutrients with high energy and protein levels, similar to the protein contents of meat and fish. Thanks to these benefits, Mallorcan almonds have become a key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet. They are especially well suited to baking.

Almonds are eaten natural, toasted or as an ingredient in many of the islands’ typical dishes, especially pastries. Almond products packaged in Mallorca are sold under the brand name, “Ametla de Mallorca”. We now even have beauty products made with almond ingredients that can be found in perfumeries throughout Spain.

Popular Mallorcan Almond dishes include the Christmas delicacy of Turrón, Amargos (almond pastry), Gató (almond sponge cake), ice cream, marzipan, almond milk, biscuits and a typical almond liqueur Flor de Ametla. Traditional cooked dishes range from almond soup to rabbit, chicken & fish cooked in almonds.

For the ultimate Almond treat you need to visit the famous Palma café lounge Can Joan de s’Aigo. It  is Mallorca’s oldest ice-cream parlour. In the 19th century Mateu Jaume used to make an exquisite almond and pine nut “horchata”. The price for a cup was set according to the amount of sugar in the drink. Today the almond “horchata” (which originates from Valencia) can be found mainly in Valldemossa – it’s a cool, refreshing almond milk drink.

The Almond is now so important in Mallorca that the Baleares government are producing guides and web pages highlighting its nutritional benefits and the best places on the island to view the almond blossom, as well as describing the many different almond products and popular almond recipes. More information can be found here: www.itineraris.org or www.balearsculturaltour.com

Walking at “almond blossom” time is fabulous, romantic and unique. Hence many hotels, tourist offices and walking associations on the island all feature their own version of walks to take in the spectacular countryside in full bloom. Our very own Almond Blossom walk is featured in a previous blog article, as is our Blossom Fever holiday itinerary.

Make sure you stock up with some almonds before coming on one of our walks – they’re a fantastic high energy and nutritional snack and they’re light to carry too!

Blossom Fever: guided walking holidays in Mallorca

almond blossom mallorca hikingFebruary is a fabulous time of year in Mallorca, and it is when the almond blossom is at its best. Mallorca is famous for it’s almonds and every year the island comes alive with landscapes of blossoming almond trees – and thousands of visitors flying in to marvel at it’s beauty…

Almonds are a major part of Mallorcan life. They’re an important locally grown food product and a hugely popular ingredient in many traditional local dishes, both sweet and savoury. They’re also a much-loved part of the island’s winter landscape when the almond trees burst into white and pink blossom in late January.

What better way to enjoy the vibrant colours and beauty of the island at this time, than to get outdoors with a guided walking holiday? We can arrange a “made to measure” break – a long weekend, a week – just for you and your group, or if you’re traveling alone you can join our popular annual Blossom Fever: 8-day guided walking holiday in Mallorca

This week-long itinerary is a good example of the kind of walking holiday we can organize for you at this lovely time of year. We combine the delights of the Sóller valley with walking in some of the best spots for almond blossom. You’re based in the pretty village of Fornalutx, just outside Sóller, and three of our walks are in this area – walking straight out of your hotel door. The other two are at the heart of the best almond blossom – a real treat.

Walking Itinerary

Graded: Green Boot (“Easy” enough for everyone to enjoy!)

Your walking itinerary includes 5 days’ guided walking. One day we walk around the Sóller valley visiting some of the surrounding villages and other highlights; another day we set off down to the port of Soller and the Muleta lighthouse and then on to Deia, a lovely village further along the coast (see W-NW11 for more details)… and no stay in the Sóller valley is quite complete without having tackled the spectacular Barranc (gorge) of Biniaraix – either in one direction or the other – see W-NW08.

During the course of the week, we’ll already have seen a lot of almond blossom in different areas, but for the other 2 walks on your itinerary we go further afield to visit the inland village of Es Capdella, which in our opinion, has the best almond blossom on the island. Here, we’ll meander through the village and along the surrounding lanes and visit a lovely old finca with a typical Mallorcan courtyard (see W-SW05). Another of our favourite walks for this time of year is walk Ref. W-NW01 where we pass a fabulous old senyorial manor house – formerly owned by Richard Branson – which is surrounded by terraces of almond trees.

Hotel

For this itinerary we usually like to be based in a delightful, 8-bedroom hotel in the centre of Fornalutx (see Ref. A-NW04 for details), but if you’d prefer us to organize a tailor-made holiday for you, there are plenty of others to choose from (see Accommodation).

Valentine’s Day

Alternatively, Valentine’s day is always a perfect excuse to treat yourself and your partner to a special, and romantic weekend away. So why not try something different this year – take a short flight to this sunny Mediterranean island, enjoy some lovely easy walks among the blossom, and indulge yourselves with champagne and the luxury of your hotel…. the perfect recipe for a romantic weekend getaway!

However you decide to enjoy fabulous February in Mallorca, make sure you have plenty of memory sticks for your camera and be prepared for some incredible landscape collages of vibrant colours – an unforgettable experience!

To review prices and what is included in our guided walking holidays please visit our web page at MallorcaHiking.com

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